Hemp is coming to North Carolina. Are you ready?
North Carolina’s notoriously recalcitrant legislature just made a bold move: it legalized hemp. In a historic vote, the NC House voted 101-7 yesterday and the Senate voted 42-2 today to legalize industrial hemp. Governor McCrory is expected to sign the legislation into law in October.
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 22 states have enacted laws related to hemp. NC’s new hemp law will bring the number to 23.
Hemp matters. A lot. Its fibers can be used to make fabrics, construction materials, and paper. Its cannabinoids, particularly CBD, have untapped medical possibilities. It is a renewable resource that is good for the soil, helpful to the environment, and a boon for the economy.
Fortunately (and not coincidentally), NC has the only large-scale commercial decorticator in the United States. (A decorticator is is a machine for stripping the skin, bark, or rind off nuts, wood, plant stalks, grain, etc., in preparation for further processing.) Located in Spring Hope, the NC hemp decorticator is inside a 70,000 square-foot facility on 9 acres. The decorticator can process large, or commercial quantities of hemp fiber. I recently spoke with Bruce Perlowin, CEO of Hemp, Inc. (owner of the machine), at the HempX festival in Asheville. Perlowin indicated that his company intends to incentivize hemp farming in NC by offering competitive pricing and wants to return manufacturing jobs to the depressed economy.
The new hemp law establishes a 5 member commission to promulgate rules regarding hemp production. Based on my conversations with industry professionals, we expect the first licenses to be issued in the spring of 2016. If you are interested in becoming involved in NC’s hemp industry I would like to hear from you. The law is evolving rapidly and you’ll want to make sure that your company is properly set up, compliant, and ready to apply for a license. I can help.